Online 'Predators' and Their Victims - American Psychological

Online 'Predators' and Their Victims - American Psychological

18 Pages · 2008 · 440 KB · English

sent personal information online to people they did not even those who were actively trying to meet new people, were no more likely than other youths online to

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Online “Predators” and Their Victims Myths, Realities, and Implications for Prevention and Treatment Janis Wolak, David Finkelhor, and Kimberly J. MitchellUniversity of New Hampshire Michele L. Ybarra Internet Solutions for Kids, Inc. The publicity about online “predators” who prey on naive children using trickery and violence is largely inaccurate. Internet sex crimes involving adults and juveniles more often t a model of statutory rape—adult offenders who meet, develop relationships with, and openly seduce under- age teenagers—than a model of forcible sexual assault or pedophilic child molesting. This is a serious problem, but one that requires approaches different from those in cur- rent prevention messages emphasizing parental control and the dangers of divulging personal information. Devel- opmentally appropriate prevention strategies that target youths directly and acknowledge normal adolescent inter- ests in romance and sex are needed. These should provide younger adolescents with awareness and avoidance skills while educating older youths about the pitfalls of sexual relationships with adults and their criminal nature. Partic- ular attention should be paid to higher risk youths, includ- ing those with histories of sexual abuse, sexual orientation concerns, and patterns of off- and online risk taking. Men- tal health practitioners need information about the dynam- ics of this problem and the characteristics of victims and offenders because they are likely to encounter related is- sues in a variety of contexts. Keywords:Internet, adolescents, child sexual abuse, statu- tory rape, sexual offending The Internet is becoming an increasingly dangerous place for chil- dren and teenagers whose online proles often attract aggressive sexual predators, federal prosecutors said Friday. The U.S. Depart- ment of Justice has joined with nonprot groups to promote [a] public service campaign . . . which warns that personal information posted online can lead to abductions and sexual exploitation of children. “Pedophiles are nding new ways and new opportunities to network with each other on how to exploit children,” said [a] U.S. Attorney . . . at a news conference where federal agents warned that seemingly friendly Web sites like MySpace or Facebook often are used

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